Fusion Technology is a new concept that brings closer to reality the promise of fully automated, unattended label and packaging production from customer order to delivery.
Fusion Technology combines full colour production printing with digital embellishment of labels and packaging in a single, one-pass and fully digital production process. Fusion will consist of a series of embellishment modules released over time that are not just put in-line with the press, but are components of an entirely new modular system with the digital front-end taking care of prepress, data processing, colour management and press operation as well as full control and operation of all embellishment modules without manual intervention.
Potential digital embellishment modules include hot/cold foiling, screen prints, matte, gloss and structured flood and spot varnish and a digital braille module.
Wim Maes, Xeikon CEO said, 'As part of our mission to be a leader in the analogue to digital conversion in the world of labels and packaging, we are excited to be sharing this new concept with the industry. Our Fusion Technology will offer converters the true flexibility to produce virtually any label or package on demand.
'It will make instant re-runs of previous jobs easy since all necessary parameters are in a single digital file. More importantly, converters will no longer need to invest in offline embellishment solutions, nor will they incur the time delays and potential for error inherent in both offline and manual processes.
'We are looking forward to having a dialog with printers and converters moving into the future as we continue to develop Fusion Technology so that we can ensure it hits the mark of what the industry wants and needs: solutions to handle more SKU's, increasingly complex jobs, ever shorter runs and faster turnaround times.'
The concept, and how it works
The goal of Fusion Technology is seamless, end-to-end production of labels and packaging that require high quality, fast turnaround, possibly variable information and any enhancements that increase a brand's shelf appeal–briefly the high-end label and packaging market segment.
With Fusion Technology, a print job containing multiple channels defining each aspect of production is dropped into a hot folder and RIP'ed, after which the different channels are sent to the relevant modules including the press–and this without manual intervention.
Because every embellishment module is digital, every single design element can be made variable or personalised, which opens up enormous opportunities for new applications. Depending on the requirements, these digital embellishment modules can be positioned before and/or after the Xeikon digital five-colour press. The resulting configuration produces a digitally printed and embellished label or package in one single pass.
The cornerstone of this revolutionary concept is Xeikon's dry toner electrophotographic five-colour printing press, which is second to none for the high-end label and packaging market since it easily matches offset and flexo benchmark quality. Xeikon's application-tuned dry toners have been specially developed to meet the requirements of this market in terms of print quality, colour gamut and accuracy, light fastness, food safety and brand protection.
The Xeikon X-800 and its in-house developed digital front-end ensures a seamlessly automated digital printing workflow while enabling integration with existing workflows and any market-leading third party applications, such as design packages, web-to-print applications and MIS.
'We are developing Fusion Technology to address what we see as a critical emerging need in the labels and packaging market,' Maes added. 'Our initial focus will be on self-adhesive labels where we project significant growth in demand for short-run high-end labels, especially for luxury goods like cosmetics, wine and spirits, and confectionary or for products like pharmaceuticals where these embellishments can also be used in counterfeit prevention.
'Building a recognisable brand and protecting it is one thing, trying to win share of mind and wallet in a fiercely competitive and increasingly information-cluttered environment is another. We believe Fusion Technology will be a key driver in the future that will help to accomplish both.'